Malaysia: Blockchain Certificate Verification launched to combat Degree Fraud

“Realizing the need to safeguard the reputation and integrity of Malaysian universities, the Ministry of Education has taken a decisive action to prevent such degree fraud which also cheats and unfairly disadvantages genuine students.”, tweeted by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education in Malaysia is using blockchain technology to combat degree fraud for the purposes of maintaining the integrity and reputation of universities across the southeast Asian country.

The ministry has unveiled that it will use the NEM blockchain for the issuance and verification system for university degrees. The idea of the blockchain application was mooted early this year by the Council of ICT Deans of Malaysian universities, where the system will be known as ‘e-Scroll’.

The system is pegged to combat the rising incidences of fake degrees being circulated in Malaysia with some of them even being sourced online from ‘diploma mills’. Fake educational certificates pose numerous dangers to society in regards to critical sectors like healthcare being staffed by people of questionable expertise, apart from being disadvantageous to genuine students.

Universities in Malaysia, at the moment, get thousands of requests from around the world regarding queries associated with the verification of educational certificates. This has been highly inefficient so far since it is being done through emails and over telephone conversations. The NEM-based e-Scroll system seeks to negate this problem.

The NEM blockchain was picked, according to the Malaysian Ministry, because it possesses unique features with regards to authenticating and managing traceability. Whenever there is a need for verification, a QR code printed on the certificate can be scanned from any part of the world as long as there is an internet connection.

In the first stage of implementation, the e-Scroll system will verify all the degree certifications of PhD students graduating this month from the International Islamic University of Malaysia where the information will embedded on the blockchain.

The Malaysian Ministry of Education has also launched a blockchain technology consortium, the membership of which is largely drawn from universities in the country. The goal is to assist in the training of academics and students in blockchain technology. It also hopes to develop applications in the blockchain, potentially making this a revenue generator for member institutions.

The consortium’s six founding member universities are the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), University of Technology Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UITM).

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